Missouri is closing in on the fifth double-digit losing streak in the program’s 111-season history.
Only a win against Mississippi at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Mizzou Arena can prevent further infamy.
The Tigers’ current nine-game slide already is tied for the fifth-longest losing streak in program history, and foul trouble has contributed to the team’s woes.
Early in the season, sophomore guard Terrence Phillips and senior forward Russell Woods made a habit of picking up an early foul or two.
Lately, it’s been junior forward Jordan Barnett and sophomore forward Kevin Puryear who have been unable to stay out of foul trouble and on the floor during the first half.
Against Alabama on Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Barnett, Puryear and sophomore guards K.J. Walton and Cullen VanLeer each picked up two first-half fouls.
Many came on illegal screens or other non-defensive calls.
“We were really hamstrung in the first half,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “... Some of the fouls are useless fouls. They’re not good fouls — putting a hip or moving or whatever. We’ve got to quit doing that.”
Barnett and Woods were limited to 17 combined minutes in the first half after each picked up two fouls.
Sophomore guard Jordan Geist and Woods were the guilty parties against Auburn, though Woods played 16 minutes before in the opening half.
Puryear and freshman forward Reed Nikko each picked up two fouls before halftime at Georgia. Each also had two fouls in the conference-opener against LSU.
“It’s becoming a regular occurrence with Kevin,” Anderson said. “... We need him. We need him in the game.”
Barnett and Woods also are critical players who need to be on the floor as often as possible for Mizzou to have a chance.
Solving the issue of early fouls would help toward that end.
During its 111-year history, Missouri has endured four losing streaks of 10 games or more. The Tigers, who have lost nine straight games, are in danger of adding a fifth such streak with a loss Saturday against Mississippi at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. According to kenpom.com, the home game against the Rebels is the Tigers’ best chance for a victory — at 38 percent — during the regular season’s final 13 games.
MIZZOU BASKETBALL’S 10 LONGEST LOSING STREAKS
Rank, No. of games: dates, (head coach), Avg. margin of loss
1. 13 games: Jan. 10-Feb. 21, 2015 (Kim Anderson),14.0 ppg.
2 (tie). 12 games: Dec. 15, 1966-Jan. 31, 1967 (Bob Vanatta), 13.0 ppg.
2 (tie). 12 games: Dec. 30, 1965-Feb. 21, 1966 (Bob Vanatta), 19.9 ppg.
4. 11 games: Dec. 20, 1958-Feb. 7, 1959 (Wilbur Stalcup), 7.5 ppg.
5 (tie). 9 games: Jan. 12-Feb. 10, 2016 (Kim Anderson), 14.8 ppg.
5 (tie). 9 games: Dec. 10, 2016-current (Kim Anderson), 9.8 ppg.
7 (tie). 8 games: Feb. 18-March 3, 1914 (O.F. Field), 8.0 ppg.
7 (tie). 8 games: Dec. 12, 1960-Jan. 9, 1961 (Wilbur Stalcup), 11.8 ppg.
7 (tie). 8 games: Feb. 7-March 6, 1967 (Bob Vanatta), 12.4 ppg.
7 (tie). 8 games: Jan. 19-Feb. 18, 1974 (Norm Stewart), 7.9 ppg.
Editor’s note: Missouri has had six seven-game losing streaks, three six-game losing streaks and 11 five-game losing streaks for a total of 30 losing streaks of five games or more in 111 seasons, including four in the last three seasons.